Counseling, Higher Education & Special Education Theses and Dissertations

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    (2002) Davtyan, Arman; Adams-Gaston, Javaune; Counseling and Personnel Services; University of Maryland (College Park, Md); Digital Repository at the University of Maryland
    This thesis explored the career certainty of college student-athletes, specifically looking for differences between athletes in revenue and non-revenue sports. The My Vocational Situation survey was administered to a sample of Division I athletes representing both revenue and non-revenue sports to assess their vocational identity, as well as to gain information regarding possible difficulties and barriers against career certainty in student-athletes. Additionally, this thesis sought to find relationships between the following variables: (a) vocational identity and perceived barriers to career decision-making, (b) intent to pursue professional athletics and other non-athletic career aspirations, (c) vocational identity and career aspirations, and (d) sport type and intent to play professionally. Although no significant differences were observed between revenue and non-revenue athletes with respect to career certainty, chi-square analyses revealed significant relationships between all four sets of variables above (a-d). Based on these findings, implications for practice and future research are discussed.
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    Examining the Disproportionate Representation of Bilingual Children in Special Education
    (2022) Ortiz, Jose A; Cummings, Kelli D; Special Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Chapter 2: Nonword repetition has been endorsed as a less biased method of assessment for children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, but there are currently no systematic reviews or meta-analyses on its use with bilingual children. The purpose of this study is to evaluate diagnostic accuracy of nonword repetition in the identification of language impairment (LI) in bilingual children. Using a keyword search of peer-reviewed literature from several large electronic databases, as well as ancestral and forward searches, 13 studies were identified that met the eligibility criteria. Studies were evaluated on the basis of quality of evidence, design characteristics, and reported diagnostic accuracy. A meta-regression analysis, based on study results, was conducted to identify task characteristics that may be associated with better classification accuracy. Diagnostic accuracy across studies ranged from poor to good. Bilingual children with LI performed with more difficulty on nonword repetition tasks than those with typical language. Quasiuniversal tasks, which account for the phonotactic constraints of multiple languages, exhibited better diagnostic accuracy and resulted in less misidentification of children with typical language than language-specific tasks. Evidence suggests that nonword repetition may be a useful tool in the assessment and screening of LI in bilingual children, though it should be used in conjunction with other measures. Quasiuniversal tasks demonstrate the potential to further reduce assessment bias, but extant research is limited. Chapter 3: The disproportionate identification of language-related disorders in schools, including communication disorders and specific learning disability, is an ongoing problem for bilingual children, with evidence of both over- and underrepresentation. Previous research has uncovered distinct identification patterns for emergent and English-proficient bilinguals, as well as differences in identification rates across grades. However, there is limited information about disability identification for different groups of bilinguals across grades. Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine the prevalence and incidence of language-related disorders in emergent and English-proficient bilinguals in elementary school. Using a nationally representative, individual-level, longitudinal data set, this study examined representation in language-related disorder categories, as well as identification rates by year. This study also examined individual- and school-level predictors of disability identification for bilingual children. Results indicate that emergent and English-proficient bilinguals exhibit distinct patterns of language-related disorder identification. Emergent bilinguals experienced a disproportionate increase in disability identification rates in third grade, resulting in significant overrepresentation in subsequent grades. By fifth grade, emergent bilinguals experienced approximately twice the odds of being identified with a language-related disorder, compared to monolinguals. English-proficient bilinguals, on the other hand, were underrepresented in language-related disorder categories in early elementary school grades, but experienced identification rates similar to monolinguals by fifth grade. Outcomes from this study provide insight into patterns of language-related disorder identification for bilinguals that have not been addressed in previous research. The implications for education practice and policy are discussed. Chapter 4: The disproportionate representation of bilingual children in special education is an ongoing issue in US schools, with evidence of both over- and underrepresentation. Identification rates of language-related disorders, including communication disorders and specific learning disability, are particularly relevant for bilingual children given the challenges associated with differentiating language difference from disorder and the possibility of misidentification. School-based speech-language pathologists are well positioned to address the issue, but many do not engage in practices that may reduce disproportionate disability identification. The purpose of this practitioner paper is to provide school-based clinicians with an evidence-based model for addressing disproportionality in bilingual children, with a focus on prevention. This paper provides a review of the literature on the topic and integrates information from relevant studies to provide a clear depiction of the nature of the problem. In addition, this paper describes a model of disproportionality prevention, and provides a set of evidence-based methods that clinicians can employ. Topics include, pre-referral intervention, early identification, parent engagement, and collaboration. By adopting the methods described in this paper, school-based speech-language pathologists can strengthen their ability to meaningfully address many of the issues that contribute to over- and underrepresentation of bilingual children in special education.
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    Addressing the Employment Gap with Workplace Supports for Transition-Age Autistic Youth and Young Adults
    (2022) Chen, Briella Baer; Yakubova, Gulnoza; Special Education; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Transition-age youth and young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have notably low rates of employment, compared to not only their peers without disabilities, but also compared to their peers with different disabilities. As such, the adoption of additional workplace tools and accommodations to better support transition-age autistic individuals is needed. This dissertation aimed to address this employment gap through examination of different employment supports for transition-age autistic youth and young adults. Chapter 2 is a synthesis of the literature on the use of video-based intervention (VBI) to teach vocational skills to transition-age autistic youth and young adults. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, this synthesis evaluated 22 studies, finding VBI to be an effective vocational training and support tool for this population. However, the synthesis also identified a lack of authentic implementation of VBI for vocational skills, or implementation by practitioners in real workplace settings. Chapter 3 is an experimental study which sought to examine the effectiveness of VBI when implemented in authentic employment settings and how to train practitioners to do so. The study had two aims: to evaluate the effects of a behavioral skills training (BST) package on vocational support practitioners’ creation and implementation of VBI, and to evaluate the effects of the resulting practitioner-created and -implemented VBI on the vocational skill acquisition of transition-age autistic adults in authentic workplace settings. This study ultimately found that both the BST package and resulting VBI were effective and socially valid. Chapter 4 is a qualitative study that sought to expand upon the topic of workplace supports for autistic youth and young adults by interviewing 12 currently or formerly employed transition-age autistic individuals. The qualitative study had two major aims: to determine what transition-age autistic individuals identify as key workplace supports, as well as their experiences with and views of technology-based work supports, specifically. Through qualitative interviews and analysis, the study identified six major themes for key workplace supports, and four for technology-based supports. The themes, their related subthemes, and practical implications for employers are discussed.
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    An Investigation of Factors that Influence Disability Self-Disclosure in Post-Secondary Students
    (2022) Sullivan, Kathryn E; Wang, Cixin; Counseling and Personnel Services; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    When students with disabilities transition to postsecondary school, they must self-disclose their disability to their institution to receive accommodations. Despite the positive educational outcomes associated with receiving accommodations, many students with disabilities who received accommodations in high school do not go on to self-disclose to receive accommodations in postsecondary school. This study investigated factors that facilitate attitudes towards and the behavior of disability self-disclosure by postsecondary students for accommodations, including quality of transition support, self-determination (self-realization and psychological empowerment), and disability identity. Undergraduate participants were recruited for a survey-based study via university listservs and were included in the study if they had previously received accommodations in high school via an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 plan, identified as having a nonapparent diagnosis, disability, or learning difference that impacted them educationally, and had attended college for at least one semester. Within the sample (n=285), 67.6% of the participants had registered with their college or university to receive accommodations. Surprisingly, almost half of the participants in this study (45.6%) did not identify as individuals with a disability despite being legally qualified as students with disabilities in high school. Regressions and path analyses were conducted to determine the factors that significantly predicted self-disclosure attitudes and behaviors (i.e., registering for accommodations). The results indicated that high-quality transition experiences in high school positively predicted attitudes towards requesting accommodations and registering for accommodations. Furthermore, a significant indirect effect was found between the quality of transition support and attitudes toward requesting accommodations via disability identity. Contrary to hypotheses, while quality of transition predicted self-determination factors, self-determination factors did not significantly predict self-disclosure attitudes or registering for accommodations. Further exploring quality of transition factors (i.e., school support, home support, and direct discussions about registering with disability services) as predictors, having direct discussions about registering was found to directly predict self-disclosure attitudes and behaviors. A significant indirect effect was also found between school support and attitudes towards requesting accommodations via disability identity. Results of this study highlight the importance of instilling a positive disability identity to drive the self-disclosure process, as well as having direct discussions with students about the processes and procedures for disability self-disclosure during postsecondary transition. Finally, recommendations for secondary and postsecondary institutions were provided for preparing students with disabilities to navigate postsecondary disability services, and further implications for practice and research were discussed.
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    (2022) Sharma, Rajni; Kivlighan, Dennis; Counseling and Personnel Services; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This study examines how beliefs about capitalism, color-evasive racial attitudes, and perceptions about wealth distribution predict redistributive economic policy preferences. I hypothesized that beliefs about capitalism, perceptions of wealth distribution, and color-evasiveness predict policy preferences when controlling for Satisfaction With Life (SWLS) and that critical consciousness action (CA) will moderate this relationship. Approximately 510 individuals completed the Costs of United States Corporate Capitalism (CCC) scale, Colorblind Racial Attitudes Scale (COBRAS), the Critical Action subscale of the Critical Consciousness Scale, ratings of wealth distribution, and questions about their policy preferences through an online survey distributed through MTurk. Results indicated that the CCC and COBRAS subscales predicted policy preferences, over and above demographic variables. Findings from this project may inform how individuals make decisions about policy preferences and on a broader scale, inform solutions for decreasing inequity in the U.S. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.